Monthly Archives: May 2019


Pinwheel Dyeing Technique

Kinky Yarn Pinwheel Dye

Kinky Yarn 100% Superwash Wool
200 grams / 133 meters / 147 yards

Deep bowl
​Citric Acid
Jacquard Acid Dyes
Squirt Bottles
Plastic Wrap
Old Towel


Kinky Yarn Pinwheel Dye

Soak your Kinky Yarn in 4 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of citric acid.  Use your hand to push all the coil down into the water to make sure it is fully submerged.  

You may wish to wear gloves during this point.  The acid is not strong, but it can sting if you have a paper cut.

Optional: Have cat inspect your work. 

After the 30 minutes has gone by, gently squeeze out the excess water and use an old towel to press out even more.

Kinky Yarn Pinwheel Dye

Cover you work surface in plastic wrap.

Snap on your gloves and mix up your Jacquard Acid dyes.  (Don't worry, they don't have acid in them. They need the weak acid like citric acid or white vinegar to set the pigment.) Additionally, you will want to put on a mask for this step. The dye is a fine pigment powder and you don't want to breathe it.

I mixed 1/8 teaspoon of dye and 4 ounces of warm water into dedicated squirt bottles.  Dyes used:
Jacquard Hot Fuchsia
Jacquard Turquoise
Jacquard Sun Yellow

Remember, acid dye is not food safe, so keep your tools separate from your eating utensils.

Kinky Yarn Pinwheel Dye

Using the squirt bottles, apply color in triangular wedges, making sure the different colors don't touch.  I know once the colors touch they will start mixing and I want to control when that happens.

Kinky Yarn Pinwheel Dye

Carefully start overlapping the different colors of dye.   Also, remember that Kinky Yarn is a bulky weight and the dye will have a lot of fiber to work through.  You will want to make sure you get dye on the edges of the coil.

Kinky Yarn Pinwheel Dye

Be sure to check the inside of the coils for dye saturation as well.   I know that the inside coils are tighter, and less dye is filtering down the coils.  But because the the inner coils will also have shorter runs of color, I like that it will have a larger undyed portion.  I think it will balance out of the look. 

Kinky Yarn Pinwheel Dye

The color gradients have pretty hard edges at this point.  If you like that style, move on to the next step.  I wanted a bit more of a smooth face, so I took the remaining 1 ounce of mixed dye and added 3 ounces of water.  Using the diluted dye, I went over where the colors mixed and the gradient smoothed out.

At this point, the Kinky Yarn coil is super saturated with water, and instead of absorbing, is just becoming a puddle.  Gentle pick up your yarn and over the sink, squeeze out as much water as you can while retaining the coil shape. 

Kinky Yarn Pinwheel Dye

You'll also notice that the bottom of your Kinky Yarn coil doesn't have a lot of dye saturation.  Using a towel, wipe up any dye on the plastic wrap, and flip over your coil.  Then repeat the same process to dye this portion of your coil.

Kinky Yarn Pinwheel Dye

Wrap up your coil in plastic wrap.  Add extra if you think its not water tight.  Place it on a dye dedicated plate and microwave it for 4 minutes.  Using tongs, check to see if the water is clear at the bottom of the wrap.  If its not, microwave it for another 3 minutes.

Remove from microwave and allow to cool.   You will need to uncoil the yarn to make sure all of it cools to room temperature.

Kinky Yarn Pinwheel Dye

Gently wash with clear dish soap the coil.  This will dislodge any dye that didn't adhere and wash out the citric acid.   Rinse and squeeze out as much water as you can.

Kinky Yarn Pinwheel Dye

Layout your yarn on an old towel (and squeal with joy over the pretty colors) and pat dry to remove even more excess water.

Kinky Yarn Pinwheel Dye

Hang your Kinky Yarn up to dry.  

Kinky Yarn Pinwheel Dye

Admire your beautiful and one of a kind Kinky Yarn!

Knitting Abbreviations

Reading a knitting pattern and not sure what an abbreviation means?  Here is our helpful list!

"                         inch(es)
alt                     alternate
approx           approximately
beg                  begin/beginning
BO                  bind off
CO                  cast on
CC                   contrasting color
circ(s)             circular
cont                continue
cn                    cable needle
cs                    center stitch
dec                 decreas(e)(ed)(ing)
dpn(s)           double pointed needle(s)
inc                   increas(e)(ed)(es)(ing)
k or K             knit(ting)(s)(ted)
K2tog            knit two together
Kfb                  knit into front and back of stitch (increase)
LH                   left hand
mkr                marker
M1                  Make one (increase)
MC                  main color
mm                  millimeter(s)
or P              purl(ed)(ing)(s)
patt                 pattern(s)
p2tog             purl two together
pm                   place marker
psso                pass slipped stitch over
rem                 remaining
rnd(s)             round(s)
RS                    right side
sl                      slip(ed)(ping)
slm                  slip marker
skp                  slip one, knit one, pass slipped stitch over (one stitch decrease)
ssk                  WYIB, slip two stitches one at a time as if to knit, place back onto LH needle, knit tbl (one stitch
ssp                  WYIF, slip two stitches one at a time as if to knit, place back onto LH needle, purl these 2 sts
                         together (one stitch decrease)
sk2p               slip one as if to knit, k2tog, pass slipped stitch over the knit 2 together (2 stitch decrease)
st(s)                stitch(es)
St st                stockinette stitch
tfl                    through front of loop(s)
tbl                   through back of loop(s)
tog                  together
w&t                (wrap and turn) Bring yarn to front as if you are about to purl, slip one stitch purl-wise. Turn work
                          to other side. Strand of yarn is now in back of work. Bring yarn to the front, slip one stitch back to
                          right needle. Continue to knit or purl the next stitch as instructed.
WS                  wrong side
WYIB             with yarn in back
WYIF             with yarn in front
yfwd               yarn forward
yo                     yarn over

A special thanks to Kyle Kunnecke of Kyle William for providing us with these helpful abbreviations.

Fridays with Franklin: Hot, Wet, and Kinky

Fridays with Franklin logo

For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

For the first part of this adventure, click here.

And so I undertook to do something further with my second cake of Kinky Yarn, which didn’t look to be too interesting since the painted bits that were so cute on the cake…

…didn’t penetrate past the exterior. Most of the strand remained untouched, as was immediately apparent when I uncoiled the cake.

strip of uncoiled kinky yarn showing limits of painting
Too much white.

Keep in mind that I am neither an experienced nor an enthusiastic dyer. My next move, therefore, was based on convenience rather than wisdom. I had used up my supplies of Textil Marabu fabric paint and Fashion Spray Marabu. So I bought the least expensive, most readily available dye I knew of.


Oh yeahhhhhhh.

You’ve probably heard about Kool-Aid’s potential use as a dye; but in case you haven’t, here are some of points in its favor:

• It’s non-toxic.
• It’s cheap.
• It’s easy to find.
• It’s easy to use.
• It doesn’t require the use of additional acids.

And some points against it:

• It’s neither very strong nor very brilliant.
• It works only with animal fibers (it will not dye cotton, linen, or synthetics).
• Others may drink it before you can use it.
• It may tempt an enormous, anthropomorphic jug to bust through your kitchen wall.

As I stood in line at the supermarket, I realized I hadn’t made or consumed Kool-Aid since leaving home to go to college. Prior to that, I must have drunk hundreds of millions of gallons during a childhood that straddled the 1970s and 1980s.

Ours was not a progressive household where food was concerned. My mother thought whole wheat bread was un-American and my father refused to eat it. He still does. We had dinner with the kitchen television on. All our vegetables–such as there were–came from cans. My school lunches always included a gooey, unnatural cake of some kind from Hostess, and on fancy days the standard entrée of a peanut butter sandwich was replaced by the ultimate culinary luxury–a thermos full of Spaghetti-Os.

We were not, in short, the sort of family in which one turned up one’s nose at Kool-Aid. We drank it by the gallon. It was the first thing I ever made in the kitchen, and there was a violently orange Tupperware pitcher devoted to it. It was the only beverage to which we children had free access, the only thing we could take from the fridge without permission. Thirsty? Drink some Kool-Aid. Drink as much Kool-Aid as you want, was my mother’s policy–just please stay outside during all daylight hours and don’t bother me unless somebody is broken or bleeding.

This may shock younger readers. I hasten to reassure them that my mother was not uncaring or unfeeling–quite the opposite. This is just how it used to be in America, especially during the summer. Every house in our neighborhood had a Kool-Aid pitcher, and every house had a mother who wanted to be left alone from June to September.

Out of loyalty to my longtime favorite flavor, I bought two packs of Orange. I always preferred Orange. Grape was a distant second. Fruit Punch was tolerated but never loved; to me it tasted like birthday parties. The more exotic options like Lime and Apple weren’t even on my radar. I didn’t know anyone who drank those. Maybe people who ate whole wheat bread.

Enough about drinking Kool-Aid. How do you dye with it?

Kool Aid Dyeing: A Brief and Inexpert Guide

First, if your yarn is brand new, I’d give it a wash. Nothing fancy, just wash the skein–following the manufacturer’s guidelines for fiber content–with a little soap. Then rinse out absolutely all the soap. Your water should run clear.

Then soak the yarn in clean water while you prepare your dye pot.

If you are going to work with “real” chemical dyes, that’s a big undertaking and among many other precautions, you need to use pots and spoons dedicated solely to dyeing.

With Kool-Aid, however, just grab a deepish pot that looks like it will comfortably hold your yarn.

(You can do Kool-Aid dyeing in the microwave, but my microwave is on the blink and so I’m only going to talk about the stove top.)

Dump your Kool-Aid powder into the pot. The general principle, which is not difficult to grasp, is that more powder gives deeper color. There’s a practical limit, though, so don’t go nuts. That’s all I got for you. If you’d like an extended treatise on the subject, I refer you to this splendid article from Knitty.

Pour in some water–don’t fill the pot–and stir until the powder dissolves.

Put in your yarn.

Add enough water to cover the yarn.

Put the pot over the flame and heat it until the water is just shy of boiling. Then turn off the flame, cover the pot, and let it sit for a good half hour. Stir it from time to time, if you can remember. I forgot.

In a half hour, maybe a bit more, you should hope to see that the water is clear–that means your yarn has absorbed the dye.

If the water isn’t clear, try heating up the pot again, and letting the yarn sit until the water cools.

Then rinse the yarn thoroughly and let it dry. Use warm water to rinse, as shocking hot wool with cold water may encourage felting.

I was deeply alarmed to see that when removed from the bath, my yarn was a dead ringer for Cheetohs. I hate Cheetohs.

Oh, dear.

Kinky is knit into a tight strip, which inevitably prevents dye from reaching every spot on the strand equally. So I hoped the lurid glow of the exterior fiber would probably be moderated by some paleness in the interior.

I wound my Kinky into a hank on my niddy noddy so that it would dry more quickly…

…and then hung the tied hank in the shower to let it dry.

You do not, of course, want to wind yarn that is even a little wet into a ball.

Sure enough, the wound yarn was only moderately Cheetoh-esque. It was actually rather closer to Spaghetti-Os, of which I have only fond memories Quite a relief. And in spite of the thorough soakings and washings, much of the kink remained as gentle waves.

Gently kinky.

Now, as to what to make with it? I can’t decide. I’m still swatching.

But I’ve have had fun playing with dye, and I plan to do it again. That Kinky has encouraged me to try dyeing (not a favorite thing) and knit with bulky (also not a favorite thing) and helped me to enjoy both is nothing short of remarkable.

Next time, we’ll revisit a project I’ve set aside for a while–and talk about an exciting new direction for “Fridays with Franklin.” See you in two weeks!

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Kinky Yarn (100% superwash wool)
addi Click Turbo Interchangeable Needle Set
Textil Marabu fabric paint
Fashion Spray Marabu textile spray paint

About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His newest book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Bookwas brought out by Soho Publishing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Squam Arts Workshops, the Taos Wool Festival, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection/Makers’ Mercantile. Many of his independently published designs are available via

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet (presently on hiatus).

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.

Follow Franklin online via Twitter (@franklinhabit), Instagram (@franklin.habit), his Web site ( or his Facebook page.

YarnYAY!’s Exclusive Colorway of Whidbey

We are so excited for the launch of Gauge Yarns exclusive new yarn Whidbey!

Inspired by Whidbey Island, located about 30 miles north of Seattle, the island forms the northern boundary of Puget Sound. Often referred to as Puget Sound’s Largest Artist’s Colony, Whidbey is home to numerous working artists, writers, and performers. The south end of the Island is a true haven for those who enjoy the fine arts. With its rich flora and fauna, including Deception Pass State Park (the most visited state park in Washington), we wanted to ensure that our Whidbey yarn was just as spectacular and special as its namesake island. 

And to go along with this new release, YarnYAY! has their very own exclusive colorway.  Check out Vickie Howell's Instagram unboxing. This colorway was available only in limited quantities, but Makers' Mercantile will soon have other colors of Whidbey in stock.

Want to see YarnYAY!'s One Year Anniversary Box featuring Whidbey? Take a look.

Sharpie Dyeing

Sharpie Dyeing Technique

Kinky Yarn Dyed with Sharpie

Kinky Yarn 100% Superwash Wool
200 grams / 133 meters / 147 yards

Deep bowl
Sharpie Markers
Rubbing Alcohol
White vinegar


We have created two videos showing the Sharpie Marker Dyeing Method.  The first is just the facts, the second is a much longer and more detailed video.

Tutorial # 1 - Just the Facts

Tutorial # 2 - Longer and More Detailed Version